The comic book that’s still the best-selling comic book of all time hit comic shop shelves in August, 1991 – “X-Men” No. 1!
This is the latest in my continuing series looking back at the comic books of 1991. In this post, I’ll look at the comics I bought in August 1991, and at some of the other comic books that were available. I’m using the newsstand option at Mike’s Amazing World of Comics as my reference guide for this. When I remember, I’ll share details about how and where I bought comics at the time.
As mentioned, this was the month of the biggest-selling comic book of all-time. “X-Men” No. 1, by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee, would sell more than 7 million copies (with five different covers). The X-Men have split into two strike forces, and this one somehow as all the popular characters at the time. The Blue Team is made up of Cyclops, Wolverine, Psylocke, Beast, Rogue, and Gambit; the Gold Team would be the focus of “Uncanny X-Men.” Storm still got prominent placement on the first “X-Men” No. 1 released (as I recall it, there was a cover released each week leading up to the big final release of the “deluxe edition” with the gatefold cover). I bought the Storm cover so I could read it first, then followed up with a deluxe edition. I’m pretty sure my brother got the Cyclops/Wolverine cover. We didn’t initially get them all, I don’t think, though I imagine since we’ve owned them all one way or another.
“Uncanny X-Men” #281 also came out this month, starting a new arc and a new starting point with the Gold X-Men team: Storm, Colossus, Jean Grey, Iceman and Archangel. “X-Factor” got a completely new team this month with issue #71. With the original X-Men leaving the name fallow, the team became a government-sponsored team of mutants: Havok, Polaris, Multiple Man, Quicksilver, Wolfsbane and Strong Guy. This series was written by Peter David, and would become my favorite X-book for a while in the future. I also picked up “Wolverine” #47, even though it was a fill-in (non-Marc Silvestri) issue. X-Force fought the Juggernaut in this month’s “X-Force” #3. Just to really beef up the X-Men tie-ins, I also got “Excalibur” #42, which featured writer/artist Alan Davis’ return to the title.
Amazingly, I also bought some non-X-Men books this month.
Other Marvels included Adventures of Captain America 2, Captain America 393, Infinity Gauntlet 4, Marvel Comics Presents 86-87, New Warriors 16, Punisher 53, Silver Surfer 56-57, and Spider-Man 15. Erik Larsen filled in for Todd McFarlane as the writer/artist of that issue. I’m pretty sure I also got “Daredevil” 297 and “Guardians of the Galaxy” 17.
From DC, I got the Armageddon 2001 tie-ins “Adventures of Superman” Annual 3 and “Detective Comics” Annual 4. I may have also picked up Batman #469 and Superman #60.
While it’s unlikely all 7 million copies of “X-Men” No. 1 got into the hands of readers, it cemented Jim Lee as one of the most successful comic book artists of all time. He’d later become a founder of Image Comics, then later a DC Comics executive when he sold his WildStorm studios to DC. Jim Lee today is the co-publisher of DC Comics and recently finished a run as artist of “Justice League.”
- Matt Price